Noreen's Kitchen: 08/01/2016 - 09/01/2016

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

You Do Have Time For Breakfast! Microwave Omelette In A Mug ~ Back To School Breakfast Hacks!!



Today we continue with our back to school breakfast hacks!  This one is going out to all my dorm dwellers!  Folks who live in dorms.  If you are away a college, in the military or in a situation where you are required to live on site for work or any other reason.  This is for you!  Omelette in a mug is simple, quick and delicious and you can make this just about anywhere!

The first trick is to make sure you have a good quality porcelain mug.  I have a stoneware soup mug that I will be using to make my omelette.  A heavy tempered glass mug or even a small bowl will work as well.  Just don't use plastic here.  You, of course can also use a microwave omelette maker if you choose.  I have one, but for today's demonstration I will be using my soup mug.  



What do you like in your omelette?  That is the question!  You make your omelette the way you like it.  Today I am going to start out by spraying my mug with a bit of coconut oil spray and then adding my eggs.  Do you like two or three?  Use the number you like best!  I am cracking in two eggs and a splash of milk or cream, then adding some mix ins that are my favorite for this type of omelette.  

I have prepared a couple tablespoons of mushroom, diced bell pepper, chopped Roma tomato,  and sliced green onion for the veggies.  I am also adding a couple of sliced brown and serve sausages along with about 1/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese.    Go ahead and toss it all in there and mix it up well with the egg mixture. 

Give everything  a good pat so that it is all submerged and pop this into the microwave for 1 minute on high.  Then take it out and stir it well with the fork and return it back to the microwave for another minute on high.  Stir again, if needed.  Then if it is not cooked all the way cook for 30 second intervals, inspecting in between for doneness.  My omelette took 3 minutes total.  Then I allowed it to sit in the mug for one minute before removing it to a plate to enjoy.

You can leave your omelette in the mug and enjoy it that way with a little more cheese, a bit of salsa and sour cream or you can remove it to a plate and toast a bagel and enjoy it like I did with some sliced avocado.  You can also cut this in half and wrap it in a warm tortilla or even stuff it into a pita or stack it on an English muffin with a slice of cheese for an awesome breakfast on the go!  Don't forget that this is just a great meal in general!  This omelette is a great option for breakfast, lunch or dinner!  Whenever you are craving a good meal but don't want to go out for it, make this and be happy!



These are easy to prep and you can do a bunch of chopping, slicing and dicing all at one time an either portion in sandwich bags or keep them in a container in your fridge.  When you are ready to mix them up bam!  Omelettes are done!  

So, if you are living in a situation where your only method of cooking is a microwave, pony up!  Make yourself one of these delicious omelettes and go crazy with your own original combinations!  What leftovers do you have?  Make it yours!  How about a B.L.T. omelette?  Or a pizza omelette?  Leftover spaghetti and meatball omelette?  Grilled chicken and veggie omelette?  So many choices!  Eggs are a great source of protein and they are cheap!  They are easy to find and you have room for them in your tiny little fridge that your microwave sits on top.    Even if you don't have to cook it in the microwave, give it a try because I think the results may surprise you!

I hope you do try this microwave omelette in a mug and I hope you love it!

Happy Eating!

You can see how I made this in my YouTube Video:


Friday, August 19, 2016

Back to School Breakfast Hacks!! Pancakes & Bacon!!



Another installment in my Back to School Breakfast Hacks series.  Today we tackle pancakes and bacon!  We always seem to have homemade pancakes in our freezer because whenever I make pancakes, I always am sure to make extras.  Freezing pancakes is a great way to always be able to offer your family something warm for breakfast.  

I will be the first one to tell you that I used to purchase frozen pancakes.  The "good" kind though from the Dutch bakery.  However when inspecting the ingredients I discovered they were no better than the big name brands as far as mystery, unpronounceable ingredients, so  making them is the way to go for us.  

Let's face it, making pancakes is super easy. You can make them from your favorite mix or you can make them from scratch.  I am going to share with you my version of a very simple, and delicious pancake recipe that I like to call my 1+1+1 pancake batter.  This formula is simple.  For every cup of flour you use, you will need a cup of milk, one egg and a teaspoon of baking powder.  I also add a tablespoon of sugar and a pinch of salt.  Whisk it all together and get your griddle ready!  Pancakes any way you like them!  Add blueberries, strawberries, chocolate chips, bananas, walnuts pecans, you name it!  Whatever is your favorite is what you should make.  



If you are going to freeze these for later, then I recommend removing the pancakes from the griddle to a cooling rack.  Allow the pancakes to cool completely and then package as desired.  You can layer these between parchment or freezer paper in a plastic container on in a large plastic bag that you can just reach into and grab what you need or you can individually portion the pancakes as you like.  Our preference is three to a sandwich bag.  You can do what you like.  If you have smaller children, one or two may suit your needs better.  If you have teenage boys, well, then put the whole batch in one bag cause you know they are going to eat those Gethro Bodine style!

When the time comes to reheat, simply remove your short stack from the freezer bag and wrap in a paper towel.  Place in the microwave for 45 seconds to a minute and then enjoy.  You will want to test the time because all microwaves differ int their power and cooking intensity. 

While I was cooking the pancakes, I also had a couple pounds of thick cut bacon going in the oven.  Many of you know I like to cook my bacon on a sheet pan in the oven.  This makes life a lot easier and I don't have to tend a pan of splattering grease while trying to do something else.  I will tell you that I have never perfected cooking bacon in a skillet.  Can't do it to save my life.  Burns every time!  This sheet pan method is tried and true and  I learned it while spending many years in restaurant kitchens.  This is how they do it for buffets and breakfast rushes.  While they par cook theirs and finish on the grill per order, I cook mine all the way.  We like ours just after it has become crisp but before it gets too dark.  Baking it in the oven can help to regulate the perfect strips for your taste.  



When the bacon is done I remove it from the pan immediately and then place it on layers of paper towel to absorb any extra grease.  Allow them to cook completely then roll them up into the paper towel and place in a plastic freezer bag.  Pop them all in the freezer and reach in and grab what you want.  Re-heat for 10 to 20 seconds or whatever suits your fancy and you are good to go!

I hope you give this back to school breakfast hack for pancakes and bacon a try and I hope you love it!

Happy Eating!


You can see how I did this in my YouTube video here: http://bit.ly/2b4KOym






Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Revisiting a Classic: Creamed Chicken and Biscuits!!




Once again it is time to revisit a classic! Creamed chicken is definitely in that category. You may know it as Chicken A La King, or you may know this old school dish by another name. This one is a throw back to be sure! My mother made creamed chicken. I could never stomach it as a child. Thick white sauce with leftover chunks of cooked chicken and a can of Veg-All. Ick! To this day, I can't even walk past that canned veggie in the store without a cold shudder going down my spine. My mother is an excellent cook, but creamed chicken was not my favorite.


As an adult, I am revisiting all these old favorites that make everyone all warm and fuzzy and think of happy times when they were younger. While this dish was most likely created as a way to stretch the protein or use leftovers to full capacity, it is still something that many people enjoy. My girls basically called this inside out pot pie. It is true, this creamy, chicken-y treat does indeed taste like a pot pie without all the pastry rolling etc. 



This dish goes together quite quickly and, indeed, you can use leftover chicken or even rotisserie chicken shredded or cubed up to make this go even quicker. Either way it will be enjoyed by all. I started out mine with fresh chicken breasts cubed up that I cooked along with some aromatics of celery, onion and garlic, If you like other things, pop them in there. I thought that some cubed potatoes would have been a nice addition as well. When the chicken was nearly done, I removed it from the pan and built my roux out of flour and butter. Added the spices and the broth to make a creamy gravy. Added back the chicken and aromatics and added some cream. Half and half or even milk will do here. Whatever you keep on hand. I also added a small bag of frozen mixed veggies and a couple cans of drained mushrooms. If you like fresh use those and add them with the chicken and aromatics to cook. Let this simmer for a few minutes and voila'! creamed chicken!


The one thing I remember most about my mom's creamed chicken is that she, more than once served it ladled over toasted frozen waffles. The square kind. Usually they were a little crispy. That was always fun and if you have never tried it, kind of delicious. Because even if creamed chicken was not my favorite thing to have for supper, served over a waffle, it made my 8 year old self kind of happy. Today I am serving my creamed chicken over some homemade sour cream biscuits. You can serve this over whatever you like. Mashed potatoes, rice, noodles, toast, biscuits of any kind, even the pop and fresh variety, or, if you are so inclined, waffles. You could even go the extra mile and make some herb and butter savory waffles to serve this over! Now that would be amazing!



This recipe will serve 8 hungry people. We will eat this for two meals. I will refrigerate the leftovers and eat them within a week or 10 days. Freezing this is not recommended, as the mixture could break upon reheating and be unpleasant. 

I hope that you will revisit this classic creamed chicken and biscuits sometime soon and I hope you love it!

Happy Eating!

You can see how I made this in my YouTube video:






Noreen's Kitchen
 Classic Creamed Chicken

Ingredients
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 cups chicken stock
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
4 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup heavy cream or half and half
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 cup frozen mixed veggies


Step by Step Instructions
Cut chicken into small cubes.

Heat oil in a large, heavy bottomed skillet.

Add chicken and cook until almost done all the way through.

Add celery, onion, bell pepper and garlic and sauté until fragrant.

Remove chicken and veggies from the pan and set aside.

Add butter to the pan and melt completely. Whisk in butter to make a roux. 

Add onion powder, garlic powder and poultry seasoning.  Stir well.

Continue to stir for a few minutes until the mixture takes on a nutty aroma.

Add chicken stock to the roux, whisking the entire time.  Continue to stir until the mixture thickens to a light sauce.

Add chicken and vegetables back to the pan and stir well.  Simmer on low for five minutes.

Add heavy cream and frozen vegetables and stir well to combine.  Simmer for an additional five minutes.

Add salt and pepper to taste.  Remove from heat and allow to rest for five minutes before serving.

Serve over mashed potatoes, rice, toast, homemade biscuits or fresh cooked waffles!

Enjoy!


You can find a printable version of this recipe on my website here: http://bit.ly/2bIA77e




Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Back To School Breakfast Hacks: French Toast!!




Today we begin our back to school breakfast hacks tips!  First up, homemade French toast fast!  This is a super easy way to always have a great breakfast on hand for your family when days are busy, school is in session and sometimes we can be running late.  This is a great way to make your morning smooth and easy.  No need to always reach for a box of cereal!  You can get a protein packed meal into your family quick with a little forethought and preparation.

French toast is a favorite of many.  When you are firing up your griddle for a weekend breakfast, do a little planning ahead so you can make extra for the upcoming school week.  French toast is really great to make ahead and freeze.  Quick to reheat in the toaster, toaster oven or microwave and then a little syrup on top an you're good to go.  What child is going to say no to a hot slice of French toast on a busy school morning?  My guess is not a one!



A couple of tips for make ahead French toast that will help you on your way:  1) use real French or Italian bread that you slice yourself in about 1 1/2 to 2 inch thickness.  2) Dip, don't soak.  When you have time to make a super eggy delicious piece of French toast you can let that baby soak, but for frozen re-heatable, quick breakfasts you want to dip.  Allowing the bread to get too soggy will make these harder to re heat and less enjoyable to eat and 3) Remove from the griddle directly to a cooling rack so the bottom does not get soggy and they cool evenly all the way through.  That's it! 

When your French toast slices are completely cooled, pop each one into a plastic sandwich bag and toss those into a plastic container or freezer basket and freeze.  Then when you are ready to eat, simply remove from the freezer, pop into your toaster, toaster oven or microwave until done and add butter and syrup or fruit jam and enjoy.



This is one way that you and your family can enjoy a delicious, hot and nutritious homemade breakfast on even the busiest of mornings!  I will be sharing more back to school breakfast hacks in the coming days leading up to the new school year starting.  My girls have already started and I know in some parts of the country that is the case, however in others school will not start until after labor day.  It is never too late to be more prepared whether it is for school, work or anytime!

I hope you give this back to school breakfast hack for French toast at try and I hope you love it!

Happy Eating!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Sour Cream Biscuits! Not Your Grandma's Biscuit!



Today I want to share with you this simple and delicious twist on a good, old fashioned every day biscuit!  This sour cream biscuit is easy to make just like your traditional buttermilk biscuit, but this uses sour cream and milk instead of buttermilk.  This may be something you can make if you don't want to use buttermilk, don't have it available in your area or just don't feel like running to the store for a special ingredient.  

This is a very basic biscuit recipe.  I have developed this based on my traditional buttermilk biscuit recipe and it makes a big pan full.  You can easily cut this recipe in half if you like or you can make the whole think and only bake what you will eat and freeze the rest of the raw biscuits on a sheet for later use.  



As far as biscuits go this is pretty simple.  Flour, butter, leavener, a bit of sugar for a golden brown finish, milk and sour cream.  You could use all sour cream, but that will make this biscuit super heavy.  Adding the milk give this a lightness that you will enjoy.  Mix it up as you would any other biscuit, by cutting the butter into the dry ingredients then I like to mix the milk and sour cream before pouring into the bowl.  Toss with a fork to form a shaggy dough then dump  onto your well flour work surface.

The magic of flaky layers comes in how you handle the dough from here.  First you will want to press everything together.  Don't "knead" the dough.  Fold the dough into itself like you would fold a letter.  This is called laminated.  When you laminate dough you develop layer upon layer of flaky goodness.  When the dough is pressed out like this it will puff kind of like puff pastry, but not as high.  Biscuits are awesome when you prepare the dough like this.  I like to fold the dough into itself at least four times for maximum flakiness.

When you have folded the dough enough times for your liking, be sure not to do it to many times, which will result in a tough biscuit, go ahead and press or roll out into approximately at 10 x 12 inch rectangle.  You will want the dough to be approximately 1/2 inch thick.  Then cut out in the size you like.  This time I used a large, 4 inch biscuit cutter because I will be using these biscuits to serve with creamed chicken for dinner.  You can cut them smaller and my preferred size is the 2 1/2 inch cutter.  It makes perfect size biscuits for biscuits and gravy, serving on the side with eggs or stew or for eating out of hand with butter and jam.  



These bake in a moderate oven at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes or until they are golden brown.  When they come out of the oven, I like to brush the tops with melted butter.  This will add flavor and ensure a soft top to your biscuits.  Allow these to cool for a few minutes before serving, even though they will be very hard to resist!

These biscuits are flaky, buttery, and have an amazing tang from the sour cream.  Different that that of the buttermilk.  These are simply delicious and I may say that I like them just a little more than my traditional recipe for buttermilk biscuits!  This recipe will definitely be showing up more often at my house!

I hope that you will give these sour cream biscuits a try some time soon and I hope you love them!

Happy Eating!

You can see how I made these in my YouTube video:






Noreen's Kitchen
 Sour Cream Biscuits


Ingredients
4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, cold and cubed
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
1 cup milk
Melted butter for brushing on top


Step by Step Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl blend flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Whisk together. 

Add cubed butter to the flour mixture and toss to coat and make sure the butter cubes are separated.  Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs, sand or coarse meal.

In a small bowl or jug, mix the sour cream and the milk together until smooth. Pour the liquid mixture into the butter and flour mixture.  Blend with a fork until it just comes together.

Flour your work surface liberally with more all purpose flour.  Pour the dough mixture out onto the flour.  Dust the dough with even more flour on the top.

Work the dough gently by folding into thirds, adding more flour as needed to keep a nice smooth and not sticky dough.  Press down and turn a quarter turn.  Fold into thirds again, press down, turn a quarter turn and flip the dough over, then repeat the folding and turning process twice more.

Roll or pat the dough out into a 12 x 16 inch (approximately) rectangle.  Then cut out using a biscuit cutter in the size desired.  Be sure not to twist your cutter.  That will cause your biscuits to be lopsided and also will inhibit them from rising to their fullest.

Place cut biscuits on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper.

You can choose to place the biscuits close together or leave an inch or two between.  This is up to you, depending on whether or not you like your biscuits crispy all around the edges or soft. 

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or just until golden brown on top and around the edges.

Remove from oven and brush with melted butter.  Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.


Get a printable version of this recipe on my website:  http://bit.ly/2aW06mn

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Back On Track For Back To School! On the Go Breakfast Cookies!!


These breakfast cookies are so delicious you will forget that they are good for you!  Filled with oats, almond butter, nuts and dried fruits, these cookies will disappear fast and your family will be asking for more!



Today I am participating in a "Back to School Breakfast Treats" collaboration with my friend Gretchen from Gretchen's Bakery channel!  If you are not familiar with Gretchen's channel, please be sure to pop over and watch her homemade apple pop tarts video when you are done here and be sure to hit that subscribe button!  Gretchen is truly amazing!

My contribution for this collab is going to be a protein and fiber packed breakfast cookie that will take you from morning till lunch and give your body what it needs to keep on going when those late nights and early mornings of the back to school schedule begin to catch up with you!  

These cookies are egg free, dairy free, gluten free and they can be vegan if you sub out the honey I used here for more maple syrup, molasses, brown sugar or even agave nectar.  You choose.  

I have used almond butter in my cookies but you can use peanut butter, cashew butter or sunflower butter if you prefer.  I have used lots of oats, golden flax sunflower and hemp seeds to bulk up the fiber and protein.  Then for crunch and sweetness I have added chopped dates and chopped pecans.  For moistness I added mashed bananas and coconut oil.  

Your imagination is your only limit here.  You can change these up to suit your tastes by adding dried fruits or nuts of any kind, shredded coconut, even a cup of chocolate chips would be nice.  I can think of several combinations that would be just as delicious!  This recipe is so versatile I know once you try it you are going to love it!



This recipe makes 24 cookies, if you drop them using the #16 disher which is approximately 1/4 cup in size.  Just make sure to flatten them slightly with a wet spoon before placing in the oven to bake.  These were perfectly done in just about 18 minutes in my oven.  Yours may differ.

These cookies are perfect for grabbing on the go.  Toss a couple in your bag and you are ready for the day along with your big mug of coffee or tea.  Ready to face whatever the day may bring, body nourished and caffeinated!  I prep these cookies by putting each one into a separate sandwich bag and place them in an airtight container on the counter.  If you don't think you will eat these inside of a week, then place them in the fridge for up to two weeks or in the freezer for up to three months.  These can thaw on the counter overnight for early morning enjoyment.

I hope you will take the time to go on over to my friend Gretchen's channel and subscribe and enjoy all the delicious homemade bakery treats that she shares every week.  The homemade apple pop tarts look amazing, simple and delicious and I know you are going to want to try them!  Be sure to use the links above!



I hope you give these breakfast cookies a try and I hope you love them!

Happy Back to School and Happy Eating!

You can find the printable version of this recipe for my cookies here:  

You can see how I made these in my YouTube Video:



You can see how Gretchen made here awesome Apple Pop Tarts in her YouTube video here:



Noreen's Kitchen
 Back To School
Breakfast Cookies


Ingredients

1 cup mashed banana
1 cup peanut butter or nut butter
1/2 cup honey**
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup coconut oil, liquified
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat flour or gluten free flour
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup hemp seed
1/2 cup protein powder* (see note below)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup dried fruit such as
     cranberries
     cherries
     dates or raisins
1 cup chopped nuts such as
     almonds
     pecans or walnuts (optional)


Step by Step Instructions


Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, stir together the banana, coconut oil, peanut butter, honey, maple syrup and vanilla.

In a small bowl, combine the oats, flour, flax seed, sunflower and hemp seeds,  protein powder, cinnamon, and baking soda.

Stir dry mixture into wet mixture until combined. Stir in dried fruit and nuts.

Drop dough onto cookie sheets that have been lined with parchment or a silicone mat.

Using a metal spatula dipped in water, press each mound of dough into a cookie approximately 2 1/2 inches in diameter and 1/2 an inch thick.

Bake, one sheet at a time, for 13 t 15  minutes or until lightly browned.

Remove from oven and allow to cool on the pan for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container or zip top  bag for up to 5 days.  These can be stored in the fridge if you live in a super warm area.  This will prolong their freshness.  You can also freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw on counter before serving.

*NOTE:  If you don't have protein powder you can increase the flour by 1/2 cup
*NOTE: If you wish for these cookies to be vegan, sub out the honey for molasses, agave or golden syrup.




Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Easy Cheesy!! One Pot, Stove Top, Mac & Cheese!!



We had such an amazing response from all of you regarding the macaroni and cheese recipe we mentioned in the review we did for the Copper Chef pan that we decided to do a video for you!  This mac and cheese is inspired by the recipe that is included in the cookbook that comes with the pan.  I tried it their way.  This is my way.  I love this mac and cheese and I know you will too.

Keep in mind that this recipe defies everything you have ever known about making homemade mac and cheese.  There is no roux.  There is no cooking the macaroni separately.  This is seriously done all in one pan and takes about 30 minutes from beginning to end.  What you have when you are finished, is the most amazing, creamy and delicious mac and cheese ever!  You can spruce this up or down any way you choose.  Their basic recipe is good, but mine is better.  I have added more liquid and more cheese.  I have also boosted the flavor with lots of extra seasonings which the original recipe did not call for.  I have added both garlic and onion powder as well as dry mustard, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce which I think needs to go in mac and cheese!  Because cheese and Worcestershire sauce are best friends!



I really love this concept.  Being able to enjoy a great serving of macaroni and cheese that is not baked is really nice.  This is super creamy and cheesy.  I have added more cheese and more water to my recipe because I felt like it needed it and it gives the finished product a nice cheese sauce which I love.  This will serve 8 to 10 people as either a side dish or main course.  With a salad and crusty bread this is going to be a very satisfying comfort food meal.

I will continue to share recipes I make in my Copper Chef pan and am so grateful that they shared this with me.  

You can find the Copper Chef pan on their website here:  http://bit.ly/2a3ghlN

You can also find Copper Chef's store on Amazon:  http://amzn.to/2aA2gNr



I think you could easily make this in a pan that has a ceramic coating but I don't recommend this method if you are using a stainless steel, other nonstick or cast iron pan.  I would just worry that it may burn too easily.  You never know till you try so you could always give it a go and report back!


I hope you give this one pot, stove top mac and cheese a try and I hope you love it!

Happy Eating!

You can see how I made this in my YouTube video here:




Noreen's Kitchen
 One Pot Stove Top
Mac & Cheese



Ingredients

1 pound elbow macaroni (dry)
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups milk
3 cups water
1 tablespoon corn starch
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
4 cups shredded cheddar cheese


Step by Step Instructions


Place all ingredients in a large ceramic skillet. I used my Copper Chef square pan.

Stir and set over medium low heat covered.

Stir occasionally until the mixture is thickened and the macaroni is done to your liking. 

This entire process can take between 25 and 35 minutes.  You will want to stay close and monitor the mixture to be sure it is not burning or that the macaroni is not getting overcooked. 


Enjoy!